Who Owns The Church - Church in Doctor's Office #4

Bible Book: Revelation  2 : 18-21
Subject: Jesus, Church
Series: Your Church in the Doctor's Office

When Sherry and I were married, I owned a ’68 corvette. I realized that I needed a car in line with what a seminary student would drive, so I bought an old F-85 Oldsmobile. My father, who was living  in Roanoke, Va., told me he would sell my car and I agreed. I told him the price and in a couple of weeks an interested party showed up with half of the money and a promissory note for the remainder to be paid within so many days. My Dad gave him the keys to the car and my signed title to the car.

He did that so I would not have to go back to Virginia when the car was sold. When my Dad called me with the “Good News,” I didn’t think it was all that good. I had only received half of the money, and   the man had received 100% of the car, and the title with my signature. My Dad assured me this man would pay the rest at the agreed time. Do you know what happened? He didn’t pay the remainder when he was supposed to. Dad said, “Son, I can’t find him. I guess you have learned your lesson!” I want you to know that I am all for learning. I was in seminary to learn how to be the best pastor I   could be. However, what could I learn from this? I told my Dad that the only lesson I had learned from this experience is not to do business with my Dad!

What could I do? After I hung up the phone, and ranted and raved, I prayed, “Lord, what lesson do you want me to learn?” After a few days I decided to call the DMV to see if the man had changed the title   in his name. He hadn’t. The at the DMV said I could apply for a lost title since I had not given permission to give it away, but it would take 4-6 weeks to clear. I prayed everyday, “Lord, please don’t allow that man to get that title notarized.” After a few weeks I received a new title to my corvette. I immediately called my Dad and told him that I had the “real” title to the corvette I was coming up that following week to get my car back. The next day the man who bought my car called me and asked what we could do to straighten out the situation. I had every right to go up there and get my car, but I didn’t want to cheat the man, even though he wanted to cheat me. Now that I had the title it was my decision. To make a long story short, the man paid me the money and painted my pickup truck.

Here is what I learned from that story. The title to something lets you know who owns it. When I read this Scripture about the Church at Thyatira, I envisioned Jesus holding the titles to everyone in that Church. As a matter of record, Jesus holds authority over every person who ever lived, is living, and will live! Sometimes we get confused about who is in control of our lives, about who has the authority in events of our lives.

The Church of Thyatira was being examined by Jesus Christ, the Redeemer and judge of all mankind. From the first person that God created to the last person who will be born into this world, Jesus has complete authority in their lives. The Bible tells us in Philippians 2:6-11 what Jesus has done for us on the Cross, and how God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!

The Church of Thyatira was getting a wonderful opportunity to please Jesus. He had personally taken the time to look at their Church - the good, the bad, and the opportunity to be great! They   received the longest message given to any of the seven Churches, even though they were the smallest city. It was a city destined for growth and prosperity as a center for manufacturing and trade. They had woolworkers, linen-workers, outer garment makers, dyers, leather-workers, tanners, potters, bakers, slave-dealers and bronze-smiths.


On the surface this sounds great, the idea of having all of these different jobs in one town. Why, there is not a town in America that would not like to have this many job opportunities. However, theses jobs came with a cost, a great cost to the church. Wherever these guilds existed you would also find idolatry and immorality. These two great enemies of the early church were almost always present.

The Church at Thyatira was no exception. Instead of being persecuted by the world, the church at Thyatira was being coaxed into compromise by one who claimed to be a believer of Christ, but it was her goal to stop the church from being effective for the glory of God.

Even though this Church had many good things in its favor, the compromise they allowing to happen would one day make them dry and lifeless, without purpose or power. They were allowing false doctrine to be taught, and they were allowing false teachers to be followed. The Church was increasing in love, yet they were lacking in the kind of discernment that is necessary to keep them healthy. That is why Jesus was giving them this exam. He was not trying to depress them, or scare them; rather Jesus was trying to straighten them out.

The Church had some dedicated members. In the Book of Acts 16:14ff we read about “a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira,” who also had a house in Philippi. This lady was a blessing and a supporter of the ministry of the Apostle Paul.

It is in this Church that the character of Jesus jumps off the page and into our minds. I want you to look at how Jesus describes himself to a group of people who claimed to be His followers, who had shown great improvement in how they shared the “Good News” of Jesus Christ, but were struggling with their understanding of Jesus Christ as Judge. They didn’t mind celebrating His birth, nor studying about His earthly ministry, they knew and taught that Jesus died on the Cross to save mankind, to redeem all who would come to Him and repent. To view Jesus as the Righteous Judge was new to them. If He is the Righteous Judge, that means He has authority over your life in the here and now.

It is a dangerous thing to see your relationship to Christ as an insurance policy that allows you to live anyway you desire simply because you are going to Heaven whey you die. Jesus has expectations for you, if you are going to claim His name. Jesus expects you to think in a way that honors Him, to speak in a way that honors Him, to act in a way that honors Him, to believe in a way that honors Him, and    to even pray in a way that honors Him.

I want you to turn your attention to Jesus, and I want you to see Him as He see presents Himself to the Church of Thyatira! It is important to remember that the same Jesus that ascended into Heaven from earth, and the same Jesus that spoke to the Church at Thyatira, is the same Jesus that is speaking to you this morning!

I. The Authority Of Jesus As Recorded In His Word

A. The Son of God

Jesus identifies Himself as the “Son of God.” Jesus does not want you to have one doubt about who is in charge of your life or who is in charge of this world. This is the only place in the Book of Revelation that the title “Son of God” is found, although it is implied in many other places. The city of Thyatira had a temple dedicated to the false god Apollo, the “Sun” god. The people in the city felt Apollo was the divine guardian of the city, and he was considered as the patron of the guilds, the one who brought the jobs and gifted the people to work their trades. Since they believed this, they felt it necessary to honor this false god in their festivities throughout the year. You see, God designed you to worship - it is inside of you - just like the desire to eat or drink. As a matter of fact, every civilization that has been discovered and studied by archeologists has been found to have some manner of worship! Each one had an item or items that they worshipped. It may have been the moon, the stars, the sun, water, fire, etc… In other words, you will worship something!

Jesus tells His readers that He is the “Son of God” and that it is His authority that gives you direction, encouragement, and correction in life!

B. Eyes Like Flames of Fire

Jesus identifies Himself by saying, “Whose eyes are like flames of fire.” Have you ever heard the description, “That person has eyes that could burn right through you!” What does fire do? It burns away that which can be burned away to leave that which can endure the fire. In our lives it is so easy to fill it with things, ideas, excuses as to why we are they way we are, or why we do what we do.

Jesus was saying that He could see right through our excuses or pretenses. In other words, you can’t lie to Jesus. You may be even to deceive yourself, but you will never, ever deceive Jesus Christ! Some Church members at Thyatira were saying, “We have to adapt and adjust to our culture, and if that means compromising our convictions to get along, that is just what we will do!” Jesus says,  “NO, you will not live this way!”

C. Feet Like Polished Bronze

Jesus identifies Himself “Whose feet are like polished bronze.” This idea conveys the strength and splendor of our Lord, He walks around our midst and He can see us for what we are! This is the authority that Jesus brings to the Church at Thyatira, and it is the same authority that He brings to the FBC of Cherryville. Remember this, there is nothing you can say to Jesus that will confuse Him, nor is there any conversation that you are going to have that He is not aware of taking place. Also, there is no place (bar, hotel room, website, my-space, parking lot, etc…) you can to that He doesn’t know about.

When you think about Jesus Christ, I want you to see Him as He wants you to see Him - as the Risen, Glorified, All-powerful, All-Knowing, Son of God..

II. The Honesty Of Jesus as Recorded In His Word

Jesus will always tell you the truth! He cannot, will not, and nor does He ever to lie to you! Jesus spoke the truth to this Church! He mentioned what they were doing well. In fact, the Bible tells us that he “cannot” lie!

Jesus said, “I know all the things that you do!”

Would you want the person sitting next to you to know “all” the things you are have been doing this past week?

A. The Honesty of Jesus about the Good Things in the Church

Jesus mentions four things about the Church at Thyatira. He mentioned their love, faith, service and patient endurance. He places them in this order for a specific reason.

1. Love And Faith – The Motive for Christian Activity

The first two, love and faith, show the motive for all of Christian activity.

2. Service And Patience – The Results Of Christian Motivation

The next two, service and patient endurance, are the results that will follow your motives!

The same principle is true with us! The results – how we act - will be directly linked to our motives! If you get mad or feel embarrassed because something you were doing in the Church didn’t go the way you planned, chances are you were doing it for the wrong reason! Patent endurance is the ability not to give up, but rather to keep in constant contact with Jesus through prayer. This ensures that you will be faithful to what He has told you what to do! Jesus is always honest in giving us good news!

He is not afraid to give a compliment or a word of gratitude when someone is doing the right things!

B. The Honesty Of Jesus About The Bad Things In The Church

Jesus is also honest about the bad things going on in the Church! There is a woman in the Church that He calls Jezebel! Jezebel was the wicked wife of the ungodly King Ahab. She was a liar who led the nation to worship false gods. What Jezebel wanted was a guilt free, pain free religion that allowed her to do only the things that she wanted to do! This woman in the Church of Thyatira was leading and teaching the people to compromise with the Roman religions so their life would be easier.

Jesus uses the example of infidelity and a bed which many associate with being unfaithful. This place where she found her pleasure would also be the place where she would find her pain, her judgment! Jesus said that He would give them what they deserved! In the eyes of God, you never want what you deserve. I want God’s grace and mercy, not what I deserve!

1.The Principle Of Divine Retribution

What Jesus is talking about is the principle of Divine Retribution. Matthew 7:1-2 states it this way, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” One of the places where this principle is executed and put into practice is in Judges 1:5-7.

2.The Principle Of Divine Expectation

Jesus is also truthful about His principle of Divine Expectation. Jesus expects us to do the right thing no matter is going on in our culture. But, He also expects us to REPENT when we are aware of our failure to be faithful.

Jesus knows everything there is to know about you and about the number of days you have to serve Him. We don’t know what to do without His instruction, and we certainly don’t know how long we have to live! As a matter of fact, we see time as something we will always have in this life. We tell ourselves we will have time to change, or time to repent, and time to do what is right in the future.

Such thinking is dangerous since we don’t have a gauge to tell us when our time will be up and our lives will be over.

You remember the story of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. She was captured and taken to the castle of the wicked Witch and an hour glass was produced and the Witch told her when the grains of sand ran out, Dorothy would die! Dear friend, we can’t see or know when we will run out of time! But Jesus knows! He knows the exact day when your life on this earth will end.

We need to be careful with time in every area of our lives. When we are at work, and we don’t do our best, we tell ourselves that we will do better when we get a new boss or new employee. You need to remember that the boss or employee you have now might just be your last! The same thing is true in relationships. Your children bring home a date to meet you and you think, I don’t have to act in a Christian manner toward this person – I don’t even like the person my son or daughter is dating. I’ll just wait until he or she brings a person home to meet me that I like before I behave like a Christian father or mother should. You cannot turn off your Christian responsibility just because you don’t like someone or something.

The same thing is true in Church. I have heard preachers say, “I don’t like my Church anymore; I’ll just wait until God moves me to another Church and then I will serve faithfully.” However, the church he is pastoring just might be the last one God will give him to pastor. The same thing is true is church members. They may not like the preacher or the staff or the direction of the church, so they say, “I’ll just stay home. I’ll wait for the next leaders to be chosen.” Dear friends, the pastor, staff and leaders of your church just might be the last ones you will ever have. You may be destined to meet God before someone replaces the people you don’t like!

Since we all want our last Christian actions to be our best, we must act in a way that honors the Lord NOW – right now! We may not have another day to serve our wonderful Lord. The Lord expects me to live for Him right now regardless of what is happening in or around my life!

III. The Consistency Of Jesus As Recorded In The Scripture

As wicked as these people were in Thyatira, Jesus called them to repent, to change their minds and come back to Him. Jesus always wants us to come to Him. He is praying for you, He is pulling for you, He is watching for you to come to Him. For those who are away from Him, He wants you to come back home.

For those who are faithful, He wants you to continue doing the things that bring Him honor and that will bring you joy! Jesus never changes the divine standards for His followers. He never told them, “If things are tough, then change your convictions to survive or succeed in this world.”

Jesus wants you to be faithful to Him regardless of the conditions of the world in which you live. I want to be faithful with my tithe, my time, and my talents regardless of what is going on in my culture. This is what Jesus expects, can we do any less?